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Proud Mary Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of allgames.com.

Introduction to Proud Mary Movie Review

When I see movie previews or movie trailers, I sometimes instantly decide that I will see the full movie when it comes to the theaters. This was the case for the movie Proud Mary.  Since action movies starring females are few and far between, I usually see just about every one that comes out. From the previews of Proud Mary, I knew the movie would be starring Taraji P. Henson who is known for playing Cookie on the TV show Empire.  I was curious if the movie would be worth seeing or if she would just rehash her Cookie character. Did Taraji P Henson make a successful transition from her Cookie TV character to the one she played in the movie, Proud Mary?  Check out my movie review of Proud Mary to find out.

Proud Mary Movie Genre

I was skeptical about the type movie Proud Mary would be.  In fact, some parts of the movie is reminiscent of what they called blaxploitation movies from years past. Even the introductory words at the beginning of the movie used some of the same print styles that you may see in a Super Fly, Jackie Brown or other similar type movies.  If you get the same impression, just bear with the movie. Towards that end, one of the pros of Proud Mary is it is not long in duration.  In fact, the movie lasted long enough where you are not squirming in your seat, wondering when the movie will end.

Movement - Pace of Proud Mary Movie

Alluding to my advice to bear with the movie, Proud Mary starts slow and could very well be like a TV soap opera if not for actions from Mary -- played by Taraji P.  Henson.  Some of the scenes may seem to be just filling up time, but as the storyline progresses, you may realize that those scenes have meaning. If you see the complete movie Proud Mary, you should be able to put the pieces together. By the way, if you missed something, the dialogue in the movie will help clarify the movie for you.

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Actors in Proud Mary Movie

It is  probably obvious that the stand-out actor in the movie is Taraji P. Henson.  In my opinion, she did an adequate job of moving away from her Cookie character in Empire -- even though there are some parts of the movie when she reverts to actions that may bring images of Cookie to mind.  It helps that Proud Mary is essentially an action movie, which differs from the mostly dialogue-based Empire, so Taraji P. Henson is almost forced to play her movie character Mary differently from that of Cookie.

If I had to choose an actor who was out of place and not believable in his role, I would pick Danny Glover who played the Boss in the movie.  I think a better actor to play the part would have been Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes or some other actor who fit the mode of this character better. I think Danny Glover was lackluster in his performance and when he finally verbally fired back at Taraji P. Henson, there was no impact since he spoke all his lines like a droning monologue.  

Proud Mary Movie Title

It appears the writers chose a classic R&B song and wrote the story around it.  Looking back on the movie, I would not use the word “Proud” to describe Taraji P. Henson’s character Mary, even though she was probably proud.  This movie was more action oriented instead of character-study driven, so the movie title, Proud Mary, did not quite fit the movie.  Based on the character, there are better words to describe Mary instead of being proud.  Brave, daring, calculating and even caring are a few choice words for Mary.  But since there are no songs with these words associated with Mary, I guess the writers settled on Proud Mary for convenience.

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Assessment of Proud Mary

In a word, I found Proud Mary to be primarily action-focused albeit, I had to wait for the actions to kick in. Also, there are some obvious missteps regarding actions in the movie, especially regarding the security of the Boss.  Spoiler Alert:  The absence of body guards in the direct presence of the Boss when it was most needed was a misstep as well as the guards failing to search anyone who came near the Boss were obvious flaws in the movie. Additionally, there were hesitations in some of the action of the characters to allow certain events to happen, especially toward the end of the movie.  Even though the movie had some shortfalls relative to actions, this did not negatively impact my rating.  With that being said, my rating of Proud Mary would have been higher if the inconsistencies as described above in the movie were not as obvious as they were.

Rating of Proud Mary

Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the best, I rate Proud Mary three (3) stars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z1lOKec2-M

 

Molly’s Game Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of allgames.com.

Introduction

Prior to seeing the movie  Molly’s Game, I anticipated it would be the typical story of a woman who was seeking to get wealthy quickly at almost all costs -- which included going the gambling route.  I did not read reviews or look at movie trailers, etc. previously, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a few exceptions, Molly’s Game, starring Jessica Chastain was not the gambling cliche movie I thought it would be.

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Get RIch Quick Storyline in the Molly’s Game Movie

The movie, Molly’s Game is based the true story of Molly Bloom who became wealthy through managing gambling tables.  I’ve seen similar casino-type movies, where in many instances the person profiting from this venture got money “under the table” or performed some other shady deals to make it big. Oftentimes, making poor choices and other reasons resulted in such an undertaking being a dangerous venture.  What I liked about Molly’s Game is I think the movie conveyed why she believed that her way to wealth was by trying her luck at running a gambling “business.”  The writer of Molly's Game made it clear that when she started, there was initially no intent to defraud or simply take advantage of other’s weaknesses. In fact, many times Molly Bloom attempted to discourage people from playing the tables, especially if they were not good at the game.  While seemingly looking out for others while at the same time running her business, Molly Bloom demonstrated that she could come become a sucess. Well, at least, in the beginning. Don’t worry. I will not reveal any spoilers.

Molly’s Game Movie - Pros

There are many ways to tell a story, including flashbacks, narration and chronological events, etc. I believe the Molly’s Game movie effectively used a combination of flashbacks, narration and current personal happenings to share Molly Bloom's story. These methods were used flawlessly and the events of the story moved along at a good pace.  Even though the movie could be considered long (2 hours, 20 minutes  to be exact), you may become so engrossed in her story that when the movie ended, you may not realize the movie lasted as long as it did.

I found Molly’s Game to not only be entertaining but informative as well in the way of learning about Molly Bloom’s character.  As mentioned earlier, I’ve watched casino-type movies in the past; however, in comparison to other movies of this type, i.e. the movie 21 and others, I found Molly’s Game to be more revealing as to who Molly Bloom was as a person. I believe the movie succeeded in letting the audience know insider information on what drove Molly Bloom to get into this line of work.

If you see Molly’s Game, you will notice there are plenty of dialogue between Molly and who ever she comes in contact with.  This was a positive because the dialogue actually helped move the story along.  There were no deviation from who the story was about by bringing in background stories about people she may have  encountered.  If a background story of one of her clients was told, it was done from the viewpoint of Molly Bloom.  By taking this approach, the writer and director kept the focus on the type of individual Molly Bloom was at the forefront, since in some instances she would add her opinion about various people.  At no time did the story stray from its main plot line, and even though the movie included a variety of different characters, the writer and director did not meander away from Molly Bloom being the focus of the movie.  

Molly’s Game Movie - Cons

During the movie, Molly Bloom shared a reason she was intent on becoming a success at what she was doing.  It appears that her highly renowned and well-known athletic siblings may have been the impetus for her drive to succeed. However, instead of narrating this part of the movie, I think Molly's Game could have illustrated in more detail what happened, or incidents could have been shown to indicate she was overlooked by her father and others because of her siblings -- which in turn caused her to work harder not to become a failure.  Unfortunately, these events or happenings did not appear in Molly's Game.

Assessment of Molly’s Game Movie

I think the point of Molly’s Game was not to try to persuade anyone to take up what she got into -- but it was simply Molly Bloom sharing her experiences. Even though I am giving this movie a positive review, as a personal disclaimer, I do not condone gambling. Towards that end, in my opinion, Molly’s Story was well told, and even with the abundance of dialogue, the movie was not in any way boring or a drain to watch.  If not for the Molly's Game Movie con listed above, this movie would have received an even higher rating than I provided below.

Rating of Molly’s Game Movie

Based on a rating of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 stars being the best, I rate Molly’s Game 4 stars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K3GVgiOqhg

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review by Ms. H

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of allgames.com.

Introduction

Many Star Wars fans and others have been waiting and anticipating Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie coming to  theaters.  On instagram, many joked that while other people are waiting for Christmas, they (Star Wars fans)  are waiting for December 15, 2017 when the movie releases.  Unfortunately, they probably should have waited for Christmas instead.  Hopefully you have seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi by this time.  If not, don’t fret.  My review will not have major spoilers and it may just save you the cost of a movie ticket.  Without further ado, here’s my review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Abundance of Storylines in The Last Jedi

It is not unusual for movies to have various storylines; however, Star Wars: The Last Jedi seemed to use every single character in the movie for a storyline.  In fact, due to the many storylines, plot changes, etc. the writer and director seemed to have left at least one character’s story in limbo. Namely, Senator Leia's replacement.  The problem with having so many storylines or plots is the movie  seemed like a mesh of beginnings, middles and oftentimes no endings because of the attempt to squeeze meandering stories in one movie. This would have been ok, if at the end the writer and director could magically bring all the different and varied plots together -- however, this was not accomplished.  Given the 2 hour 35 minutes movie play time, lack of time cannot be used as an excuse not to present a coherent story.

As you watch Star Wars:  The Last Jedi, you may ask yourself if the movie revolves around Luke Skywalker, or if the plot centered around Rey including discovering who her parents were. Or was the storyline about the Rebels defending themselves against the enemies?  Maybe the plot was about strategizing to defeat the enemy when it seemed like they were being overpowered.  Numerous other questions can be asked about the central point of this movie; however, you may come away from Star Wars: The Last Jedi  with the realization that there was none.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Pros

I liked the strong lead-in tune of the Star Wars theme music when the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie started. This is an epic soundtrack and has withstood the test of time to sound just as crisp as it did years ago.  I did notice  there was a pause where other writings appeared before the yellow lettering showed against the black background.

In my opinion, a touching part of the movie was the bond that seemed to exist  between Luke Skywalker and Rey.  I particularly enjoyed her practicing with the light saber as well as using it in some of the scenes. The puzzling aspect of the scenes with Luke Skywalker and Rey was I did not see any actual training taking place, unless learning the ways of the force constitutes  training.  A scene showing Luke Skywalker training Rey on using the lightsaber would have been appropriate in this instance.  

Another pro of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was there were a few humorous line thrown in here and there that caused the movie audience to laugh. There were also lots of special effects; however not spectacular as you would expect from a blockbuster movie like Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Cons

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was overly long and probably could have been cut shorter by eliminating some of the characters who served no real purpose.  I have watched long movies that did not seem as long because I was enjoying the movie and wanted to know what would happen next.  A specific example is the record breaking Wonder Woman movie. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Actually, I was waiting for a major plot to evolve to connect all the different storylines -- which of course never happened.

Spoiler alert. The Star Wars movie franchise is known for showing strange looking creatures; however, there is one scene in the movie where Luke Skywalker gets a dairy drink from a grotesque looking creature.  Such a scene should have been edited out of the final movie. I actually had to turn my head away in order not to watch this gruesome scene.  You will know what I’m talking about if you see the movie.

When Star Wars:  The Last Jedi movie started, I got the impression the main character who would be carrying the movie was the fighter pilot instead of either Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren, Senator Leia, Rey or Finn.  The fighter pilot seemed to have a bigger part in this movie when compared to his role in the last Star Wars movie -- Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  This may have been done because Han Solo was not in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This was a huge fail since the story should have centered around Luke Skywalker, Rey and John Boyega. It was unrealistic for me to watch the fighter pilot lead people when his specialty should have been piloting.  The worst fail relative to him coming into power was when Senator Leia nonchalantly gave approval for him to take over the lead -- even though she seemed quite capable of doing so herself.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Rey

Just to clarify, there are many faces in Star Wars: The Last Jedi including those I’ve named above.  However, the most consistent Star Wars character I’ve seen in ads, commercials, youtube videos, etc. have been Rey weirding a lightsaber.  Because of her high visibility regarding Star Wars beginning with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and continuing on to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it seemed asignide for Rey to be belittled and insulted during a portion of the movie.  Spoiler Alert:  The disparaging remarks made to Rey by Kylo Ren was totally uncalled for.  Again, you will know the details of this exchange if you see the movie.

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Star Wars:  The Last Jedi - Kylo Ren

Regarding the exchange between Kylo Ren and Rey, I think it was a plus that both the actors who portrayed  Kylo Ren and Rey are not played by good actors.  When Kylo Ren was telling Rey where she came from, he could have been more brutal in his facial expressions and his actions -- which were not done.  On the flip side, because Daisy Ridley as Rey is not in my opinion an award winning actor, she did not convey the hurt and humiliation she must have felt when Kylo Ren said those negative things about her.

Assessment of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I see nothing inherently wrong in hyping a movie, but i think it’s misleading to do so when the movie is below what is expected for a popular movie franchise such as Star Wars.  My advice is to spend more time, energy, and yes -- money to produce a quality product that is worth the Star Wars brand.  Sadly the hype did not match the final product.  Here’s an enumeration of five (5) actions that  could have been done to improve Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m sure there are more; however, these five stand out for me.

  1. Pick a few storylines and make them complete with a beginning, middle and an end.  If a storyline is not complete -- omit it from the movie.
  1.  Have a goal in mind when developing a Star Wars story and stick to it, so when the audience walks away from the movie, at least they will know what the movie was all about.
  1.  Do not let a fighter pilot become the leader unless he is paired with someone with leadership skills such as John Boyega’s character Finn or other leader-type Star War characters.
  1.  Don’t let minor characters, i.e. a security guard become the main focus part of the movie when clearly she was not doing her job when she not only excused John Boyega from trying to escape the spaceship -- but unbelievably joined him.  
  1.  Since Rey has been the face of the new Star Wars movies, beginning with Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- do not undermine her as an individual.  Rey should be depicted as a strong Star Wars character and not one to be belittled and insulted.

Rating of Star Wars:  The Last Jedi

Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the best, I rate Star Wars: The Last Jedi 1 ¾ stars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0CbN8sfihY

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